How to Properly Winterize Your Boat

winterize boat

As the warm weather starts to get cooler and the Summer months come to an end, it is time to start thinking about how to properly store your boat. If you don’t properly store your boat and prepare it for Winter, you can end up causing costly damages to your boat. It also isn’t as easy as simply pulling your boat from the water and placing it into storage. There are proper steps you need to take to prep your boat for long-time storage along with types of storage you need to consider. We’ve done the hard work for you and have outlined all you’ll need to know about winterizing your boat.

Prepping Your Boat for Winter Storage

First things first you need to pull your boat and bring it to a place you will have room to work on it. Once you’ve done this, you will need to complete all of the below to optimize your winter boat storage.

Winterizing Your Boat’s Enginewinter boat maintenance

  • Change Your Oil – If any water or acids has gotten into your oil it can corrode the engine. Flush the oil completely and change the filter. Then top it off with fresh new oil.
  • Refresh the Coolant System – You will first drain out all current coolant. Then flush the coolant system with water. After that, fill with fresh antifreeze. Be sure you follow the manufacturer’s recommended specifications and dilute the antifreeze as guided! The coolant will help parts of your engine from freezing and getting damaged.
  • Spray with Fogging Oil – Get your engine to turn over without fully starting it. Then depending on your manual instructions, spray fogging oil either through the carberator or the spark plug holes. This keeps the moving parts of the engine protected through the cold.
  • Remove Drive Belts – Loosen or remove your belts entirely. If kept under pressure for a long period of time, the belts can become stressed and crack or become damaged.
  • Grease the Steering Mechanism – Make sure all the joints within the steering and control mechanisms are well covered in grease. Greasing these up will just ensure they are good and ready to go when you pull your boat back out in the warmer months.
  • Disconnect the Battery – The battery takes a wee bit more maintenance throughout the winter months. You first need to disconnect the battery and top it off with distilled water. However, throughout the winter you’ll want to connect your battery and charge it up a few times to ensure it’s ready to hook up and go first boat ride back in season.
  • Fill Your Gas Tank – You want to completely fill your gas tank and add a fuel stabilizer. If you don’t, condensation can buildup in the tank and cause corrosion to your tank and damage it.

Winterizing the Boat

  • Seal Exhaust Ports – If you have an inboard boat, some have large exhaust ports that rodents may try to make into their new home. You can simply take duct tape and cover these ports to protect them.
  • Interior Care – If you have any organic material such as leather, canvas, cushioned seats, etc., remove this material and store them in a dry place protected. Water can enter these materials and cause them to mold and mildew. Remove all electronics to also protect them from any moisture or extreme temperatures. Empty all water tanks and run antifreeze through any pipes.
  • Cabin Treatment – Keep it well ventilated and reduce humidity with moisture-absorbing crystals.
  • Wash and Wax – Thoroughly clean your boat both inside and out. Then use boating wax to cover the body. The wax will help protect the body from the elements and prevent any rust or corrosion.
  • Use a Cover – A boat cover will help to further protect your boat and help make it ready to go coming back into the boating season.

These steps may seem like a lot but it’s well worth the time to make sure each of these tasks is completed. It should only take you a few hours in one afternoon to make your boat winter-ready. Winterizing your boat will save you time, money and the potential of fixing your boat from damages that occurred over the winter season.

Where to Store Your Boat

Once you have taken the steps to winterize your boat, you need to consider where you are going to store your boat. There are a variety of options you can choose from all of which have their pros and cons.

Outdoor Storage

  • Pros: Cheap or Free!
  • Cons: Mandatory boat cover needed. Exposure to elements and a potential eyesore. Needed travel from storage to dock. Lack of security.

Boat Storage Unit

  • Pros: Easily available and fairly affordable. Protected from elements. Added security.
  • Cons: Larger boats may not find available storage. Needed travel from storage to dock.

Dry Stack Storagewinter boat storage

  • Pros: Your boat stays near the dock. Usually stored in a warehouse to help protect from the elements.
  • Cons: More expensive and hard to find. Large boats won’t fit. If not stored in a warehouse, exposure to the elements.

Indoor Storage

  • Pros: Protection from the elements. Common perks often include free transportation, maintenance, and monitored security.
  • Cons: Typically the most expensive option.

Boat Docking

  • Pros: Easy access when the warm weather comes back.
  • Cons: Docking fees. Increased exposure to the elements. Lack of security. Potential sinking or extensive body damage.

If you need help or guidance on winterizing your boat or have general boating questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to the helpful staff at New Melones Lake Marina.

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